Ask any wrestling fan what the greatest year in the history of the business is and you’ll hear a few answers. The years 1997-98 saw the explosion of wrestling into mainstream culture, 1984 saw the WWF expansion along with several strong territories. I’ll guarantee that under Family Feud rules (ask 100 people) that the number one answer would be 1989. The NWA (WCW) had classic Ric Flair feuds with Ricky Steamboat and Terry Funk, along with the emergence of Sting and the Great Muta. Territories like Memphis and World Class were running interesting angles. Japan saw the legendary Jumbo Tsuruta-Genichiro Tenryu matches. And of course, the WWF machine hummed along starting with a Saturday Night’s Main Event on the first Saturday of the year.
But first, a personal story about this show. I never saw this until the WWE Network came along even though I was watching religiously 28 years ago. As a lad of 9, I wasn’t staying up until 11:30 PM ET to see the show live so we would run the VHS on a timer. However, my father messed up and it never taped and I was furious that I missed the hair vs hair blowoff between Brutus Beefcake and Outlaw Ron Bass. Such are the priorities of youth. (Four years later, my father accidentally taped over Larry Bird Night with something, probably a game show. But he made good and purchased the commercial VHS, which I still have.) Continue reading Saturday Night’s Main Event #19 – 01/07/1989
It was probably the wrong time to attempt this with business starting to tank, but WWF tried a non-holiday midweek PPV with This Tuesday in Texas, aired on December 3, 1991 (25 years ago as this is posted!) only 6 days after Survivor Series. While it did 400,000 buys which doesn’t seem bad on its face, the result was disappointing since the show only cost $14.99 so the dollar take wasn’t that good.
However, the reduced price meant it was an easy sell to my parents. The shame is that my original VHS of the show is long lost. This was a somewhat mysterious show over the years because the show was not released on a standalone tape, instead crammed onto Coliseum Video’s WWF Supertape ’92. Then again, all the matches from the PPV (except Hogan-Undertaker) aired on Prime Time Wrestling in late 91/early 92 so whatever. Continue reading WWF This Tuesday in Texas – 12/03/1991
I was able to see every WWF PPV live in the calendar year 1989. That’s the 1st PPV Royal Rumble, WrestleMania 5, SummerSlam, and yes, the No Holds Barred: The Match/The Movie show. Oh and this Survivor Series from Chicago, where the only thing people seem to remember is Tully Blanchard being pulled and replaced by Bobby Heenan. Something more must have happened, because I took 2 1/2 pages of notes on this! Continue reading Reflections on 1989 Survivor Series
Once upon a time, the Survivor Series carried a lot of cachet. It wasn’t just a place where guys got pinned off regular clotheslines or where Bret got screwed. It was a Thankgiving “tradition” that was actually a giant middle finger to not only Jim Crockett Promotions, but to other remaining territories that ran big shows on the holiday. (The WWF was famous for NOT running shows on those holidays) I sat down earlier this week and watched the 1987 Survivor Series and here are my reflections: Continue reading Reflections on 1987 Survivor Series
Since the last WWF PPV review I did was Canadian Stampede, might as well go to the next show which is the 1997 Summerslam. I was very excited for this card at the time since I was too dumb to figure out there was only one way they could logically book the main event. And you had stipulations all over the place like an old Mid-South card. Our hosts are Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, and Jerry Lawler from the then-Continental Airlines Arena in New Jersey. Continue reading WWF Summerslam 1997 – 08/03/1997
The World Wrestling Federation did not just turn the page from 1983 to 1984, they threw out the damn book and created one on their own. Vince McMahon took the WWF out of the National Wrestling Alliance in 1983 with the idea of going national himself in mind. This is ground zero for the beginning of that because we have four debuts on this show: Continue reading WWF Championship Wrestling 01/07/1984
Back from a nice vacation in the Outer Banks now and while I’d like to do a 3000 word rant on why Triple H’s recent comments to ESPN are full of shit, along with a side piece on why ESPN is full of shit in general too, instead you’ll get part 3 of Sex Lies and Headlocks because I’ve read even better books and want to get to them. Like Pat Patterson’s book Accepted (released last week) which was a great read. This edition is a random collection of 90s stuff:
With a heavy tan that he deepened with skin creams so he could pass for black, he became a modestly successful midcard act at WCW.
I always thought Johnny B. Badd/Marc Mero was black. When I first saw him in 1991 WCW, I thought that and it’s not like you could pick up a wrestling magazine to get that sort of information. His initial act was very much like a Little Richard type, probably leaning too much to homophobic stuff which is why it got changed. And yeah, I thought PN News was black too. None of this really matters, though. Continue reading Sex, Lies and Headlocks Part 3 (Potpurri Edition)
We are back to JJ Dillon’s book from 2005 “Wrestlers Are Like Seagulls” and at the height of the author’s career: his time managing the Four Horsemen.
The other boys used to make light of the fact that it was a good thing that Flair never wanted to touch cocaine, because with his nose being as big as it is, there wouldn’t have been any left for anyone else.
Believe it or not, I had never noticed that Flair had a big nose until I started hearing these jokes made about him. Flair was a legendary partier, but he would not do cocaine and he would not smoke cigarettes because that would kill his whole “60 minutes every night” thing. He would do chewing tobacco and an unlimited supply of Seabreezes (vodka w/cranberry and grapefruit juice) and something like Miller Lite. Continue reading Highlights from JJ Dillon’s Book: Part 2 (Horsemen Edition)
The year 1987 firmly established the WWF as the dominant wrestling promotion in North America, but the final Saturday Night’s Main Event aired that year featured both a blast from the past and a glimpse at the future. The two main matches on this show were a rematch of the WrestleMania 2 main event of Hulk Hogan against King Kong Bundy and Macho Man Randy Savage taking on heretofore tag wrestler Bret the Hitman Hart. Taped in Seattle at what is now the Key Arena, our hosts as Vince and Jesse, the latter of whom was feeling quite good about himself as we will see. Continue reading Saturday Night’s Main Event #13 – 11/28/1987
By the fall of 1987 the WWF roster was loaded with talent in part because guys saw the spectacle of WrestleMania 3 and knew it was the place to be. Just since the last SNME in May, Ted DiBiase, Bam Bam Bigelow, Rick Rude, and the Ultimate Warrior made the jump to New York. None of those guys would make it on this show however and the main story was that of Macho Man Randy Savage’s gradual babyface turn in the summer as he chased the IC title. He would take on the Honky Tonk Man in this show from Hershey, PA. Our hosts are Vince McMahon and Bobby Heenan. O Jesse Ventura, where art thou? Continue reading Saturday Night’s Main Event #12 – 10/03/1987